Thailand semester stretches students

Posted By Horizon Staff April 11th, 2013 in Features : 0 COMMENTS

Kirk Fetters

Staff Writer

Earlier this semester, several Westmonters witnessed the wonder of a country permeated with kind faces and adventure. The privileged attendees of the Spring Semester in the Thailand program participated in various internships and juggled a full schedule of 18 units.

According to third-year Amber Narmore, “This semester is definitely no walk in the park . . . [You are] pushed outside of your comfort zone during this trip and it’s out in the unknown that God is able to shape and grow you the most,”                    said Narmore.

Thailand is, for those who are not well versed in Asian geography, in the southeast corner of the Asian continent. Laos and Myanmar border on the north and Cambodia and Malaysia border to the south and east. Thailand is rich in history, and its language borrows much of its vocabulary from an old form of Chinese. Thailand is also a constitutional monarchy headed by King Rama IX. Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, so some of the students, including third-year Victoria Bernabe, were able to intern at the Buddhist university in town.

However, internships at the university were not the only internships available. Narmore had the privilege of interning at an elementary school in Chang Mai called SanSri, which she claims was “one of the rewarding experiences” of her life.

The SST website describes the semester, stating, “The mission of the Semester in Thailand is to provide students a life-changing international experience, designed for intellectual, social, personal and spiritual transformation.” The students left Thailand conversational in Thai and able to read Thai script. They also left with new understanding of their faiths and valuable life experiences under their belts.

Maleshah Bender, third year, confessed that she “fell in love with the country of Thailand and its people. It’s a country full of culture and beauty.” Fourth-year Peter Huang noted, “It was there [in the Northern Highlands] that we got to partner with local ministries and witness God’s amazing work there while enjoying his creation outdoors together with the tribal people.”  Bernabe also commented on the fun experiences saying, “We got a taste of sustainable development when we were given the chance to help plant over 1,000 banana trees in a Lahu Village.”

All of the students who responded agreed on one fact about the semester: it was difficult due to culture shock and intense experiences. Narmore elaborates that the trip was “challenging because it placed you in situations where you were not in control of the outcomes.” However, they are all in agreement about another aspect, too: the semester was an enriching and worthwhile experience.

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